Monday, July 21, 2014

Leadership Summit for Native Youth in Agriculture

Forty-four high school and college students arrived at the University of Arkansas School of Law this week for the inaugural Summer Leadership Summit: Native Youth in Agriculture. The students, who represent the next generation of Indian Country’s food and agriculture leaders, hail from 13 states from as far away as Oregon and Hawaii, and represent 21 tribes.

The week-long program includes classes, lectures, field trips and hands-on training in risk management, finance and business, legal issues and marketing. University of Arkansas professors, professionals in the food and agriculture sector and tribal leaders will teach the courses. Highlights include presentations by Mike Vayda, dean of the Dale Bumpers College of Agricultural, Food and Life Sciences, and Stacy Leeds, dean of the School of Law, and visits to the Fayetteville Farmers’ Market, the Discovery Center Food Processing and Food Development Center at Tyson Foods world headquarters and the Regional Distribution Center of Walmart and Sam’s Club world headquarters.

The summit is sponsored by the School of Law and the Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative in partnership with the Intertribal Agriculture Council, FFA (formerly the Future Farmers of America) and the Farm Credit Council. The program is supported by grants from the Farm Credit Council and the Risk Management Agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Sunday, July 20, 2014

Kathryn Smith Accepts Position at Walmart

We are pleased to announce that Kathryn Smith, a member of the 2013-14 LL.M. class has accepted the position of Manager of Programs in the Responsible Sourcing Department at Walmart headquarters in Bentonville, Arkansas.

Kathryn was a 2011 graduate of the University of Arkansas School of Law. While in law school, Kathryn served as the Editor in Chief of the Journal of Food Law & Policy and received the law school's  Outstanding Contribution to Law School Publications Award for that service.  She holds a Bachelor of Science degree cum laude (Criminal Justice) and a Bachelor of Arts degree with University Honors (Spanish) from the University of Alabama. She is just finishing up her final requirements for the LL.M. degree.

The Responsible Sourcing Department at Walmart serves as the bridge between Walmart’s internal compliance efforts and its global supply chain. Responsible Sourcing sets policy and monitors compliance and remediation activities of suppliers and factories in the global supply chain for areas such as

  • The Environment 
  • Health & Safety 
  • Labor & Employment 

Kathryn's particular job within this department falls under the Supplier Development area. She works with a team to review and evaluate existing programs implemented by the department. These kinds of programs range from training programs for factories to facilitate compliance to social betterment programs, such was the Women in Factories program.  Walmart's Global Responsibility Report for 2014 provides additional information.

Friday, July 4, 2014

Announcing Fall Food & Ag Law Class Line up

In the LL.M. Program in Agricultural and Food Law, we are proud to offer a full curriculum of 12 credits of specialized LL.M. courses each semester.  Beginning this Fall, we will offer a part-time program and a distance degree option to complement our traditional two-semester face-to-face program.

We use technology to bring the classroom experience to our distance students. Synchronous classes are live-streamed, with students participating from their computer or tablet from anywhere with a good internet connection. All of the technology in our classroom is being upgraded this summer  -  watch for future posts.

Condensed courses provide an opportunity for distance students to visit campus to attend several days of intense study of a specific agricultural or food law topic.

Traditional online courses will also be available for remote study beginning Spring 2015.

Our courses are all taught by nationally recognized agricultural and food law professors, and our professors work with the distance education professionals at the University of Arkansas Global Campus on distance course design and implementation.

We have a great incoming class, but are still accepting applications.  Here are the courses we will be offering Fall semester:

Agriculture & the Environment 
2 credit full-semester course
Tuesday and Thursday, 10:00 – 10:50 a.m. 
Agriculture is increasingly criticized for its impact on the environment. This course examines the tensions between the desire to produce food and fiber efficiently and concern for sustainability and the protection of natural resources.  It’s focus is on broad policy themes and current environmental readings.

Food Law & Policy 
2 credit full-semester course
Wednesday and Friday, 10:00 – 10:50 a.m.
The laws that frame our food system have a significant impact on us all. This course provides an overview of regulation by the Food & Drug Administration and the USDA focusing on policy considerations and current issues in the news. 

Food, Farming & Sustainability 
2 credit full-semester course 
Tuesday and Thursday, 11:00 – 11:50 a.m.
This course provides a survey of the complex legal topics that make up the body of agricultural and food law focusing on current issues of significance. Readings are supplemented by presentations from attorneys working in the field. The text for the course will be an updated version of Food, Farming & Sustainability: Readings in Agricultural Law, by the course professor, Susan Schneider.

Specialized Legal Research and Writing 
1 credit full-semester, pass/fail course
Thursday, 1:00 – 1:50 p.m.
This is a course for legal writing skill development, including training in plain-English legal writing, electronic research training, and publication strategies. This course will assist students in planning to meet the LL.M. writing requirement.

Administrative Law & Practice: USDA and FDA 
1 credit flipped model; first half of the semester only
Tuesdays, 1:00 – 1:50
Study of administrative law & practice as applied to the specialized areas of agricultural and food law.  The relevant regulatory agencies are introduced, and the basics of federal rulemaking, adjudication, and judicial review are covered. The course will meet once/week August 26 – October 7, 2014.

Urban Agriculture Law & Policy 
1 credit flipped model; second half of the semester
Tuesdays, 1:00 – 1:50
This course provides a study of the legal issues raised by the rising interest in urban agricultural activities. Topics of study include land use and zoning issues, farmers market issues, and legal issues associated with community-sponsored agriculture. The course will meet once/week October 14, and October 28 – December 2, 2014.

Condensed Courses are one-credit face-to-face classes offered in 2-4 days of intensive instruction. Distance students are encouraged to come to campus, although special arrangements may be available for video-conferencing on a case by case basis.

An Introduction to the Law of Food & Agriculture 
1 credit condensed course
August 18-20, 2014  
This course provides an overview of the legal and policy issues presented by the production of food and fiber, including a discussion of structural changes in agriculture, sustainability issues, and trends in consumer interest.

Federal Farm Programs & Crop Insurance 
1 credit condensed course
October 13-16, 2014
This course provides a survey of the complex network of federal farm programs and federal crop insurance programs that are available to U.S. producers, focusing on the 2014 Farm Bill provisions.

Agricultural Policy & the Federal Budget 
1 credit condensed course; on location only; this course will not be recorded
November 10 – 12, 2014
This course examines the impact of the budget, cost-scoring, and OMB on federal agricultural policy making in Washington, D.C. Current farm policy issues are discussed within the context of budgetary constraints and pressures.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Another National Award for the Food City Scenario

The LL.M. Program is delighted to announce that the "Food City Scenario"has won another national award -  this time, a Charter Award from the Congress for the New Urbanism.  Leaders from Northwest Arkansas traveled to New York to receive the award.

The LL.M. Program was proud to provide assistance to the University of Arkansas School of Architecture's Community Design Center in developing this innovative model for incorporating local food systems into urban growth.  Here's the announcement from the University of Arkansas Newswire.

Food City Scenario' Wins Charter Award From Congress for the New Urbanism
Northwest Arkansas leaders travel to Congress meeting in Buffalo

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – A project that seeks to build food sustainability by promoting local urban agriculture was recognized earlier this month at the annual meeting of the Congress for the New Urbanism. The University of Arkansas Community Design Center led the team that created the Fayetteville 2030: Food City Scenario project, which won an Award of Merit in the category for Planning Tool or Process.

The Charter Awards ceremony was held earlier this month at the Buffalo Niagara Convention Center in Buffalo, New York, at the organization’s yearly Congress meeting, which brings architects, urban planners, developers and advocates together to network, learn and collaborate. The Congress is an international organization that works with multidisciplinary professionals to promote walkable, diverse and sustainable development.

Lioneld Jordan, mayor of Fayetteville, was one of about two dozen leaders from Northwest Arkansas who attended the meeting in Buffalo. The Walton Family Foundation funded the travel of this region’s leaders to the conference, which included a special meeting with the Congress board and chief executive officer. Mayors, chamber of commerce officials, county commissioners and Northwest Arkansas Council officials attended in an effort to develop greater urban livability and planning coordination in the region.

Jordan said the event was educational and inspiring as ideas were shared from cities around the country. “A lot of the things that they talked about are things we’re looking at in this city,” he said. “I think they showed us some easier ways to do them.”

Food City Scenario is a solid project that caught the attention of the Charter Awards judges and also features some ideas already being implemented in Fayetteville, Jordan said.

“We’ve got to look at urban development different than we have in the last 50 years for sure,” Jordan said. The award recognition “shows that we’re doing some stuff that’s even a little outside the box.”

The Fayetteville City Council recently passed a comprehensive urban agriculture ordinance, which allows city residents to raise goats and bees, plus more chickens than previously allowed. It also allows them to sell produce grown in their home gardens. Next, city officials plan to look at the possibility of planting fruit and nut trees alongside public streets.

“I’m a firm supporter of people being able to sustain themselves and being able to grow their own food,” Jordan said. As more people are living in urban areas than rural ones, “we’ve got to learn how to produce our own food.”

The Community Design Center led an interdisciplinary team at the University of Arkansas whose project, Fayetteville 2030: Food City Scenario, speculates on what Fayetteville might look like if the city’s growth integrated local urban food production sustainable enough to create self-sufficiency. Fayetteville’s population of 75,000 is expected to double over the next 20 years. In addition, although the region is the most prosperous in the state, it also has one of the state’s highest child hunger rates.

Supported by the Clinton Global Initiative, Food City Scenario is an urban agricultural project that aims to weave agricultural urbanism back into the city environment, with the prospect of helping Fayetteville achieve greater food security and resiliency, said Steve Luoni, director of the Community Design Center.

Most cities stock a three-day supply of food, mostly from global supply chains, “meaning that we are only nine meals away from anarchy,” Luoni said. This scenario devises a middle-scale urban food production model that lies between the scale of the industrial farm and the individual garden, called the “missing middle.” In this plan, this foodshed – a geographic area of connected food production and consumption – functions as an ecological municipal utility, featuring green infrastructure; public, food-producing landscapes, such as edible forest farms, orchard-lined streets, fruit and nut boulevards; food hubs; organic waste recycling districts; and various other agrarian initiatives.

“Food has been conspicuously absent from American planning, even though it ranks in importance with water, power and sanitation – the latter all utilities,” Luoni said. “Our scenario plan formulates the rationale, design tools and placemaking concepts for making urban food production an option once again in the construction of cities.”

Juror Brent Toderian called Food City Scenario a “highly creative, comprehensive and leading-edge ‘thought piece’ on urban food.” From farm-to-table arrangements with local institutions to a closed-loop, upcycling waste management system (including extracting nutrients from food waste through composting) to several greenhouse and other geothermal plans, Food City is an in-depth look at a city’s vibrant potential.

“The project went well beyond policy and principle, to connect urban food production with alternative growth scenarios, public space types, and real-world housing,” Toderian said.

This collaborative plan involved the Fay Jones School of Architecture, the department of biological and agricultural engineering, the Center for Agricultural and Rural Sustainability, the School of Law and its master of laws program in agricultural and food law, the department of food science, and the city of Fayetteville. This team also worked with local nonprofit groups dedicated to fighting hunger and poverty. The report can be found on the Community Design Center’s website.

Earlier this year, this project was recognized with an Honorable Mention in the 61st Progressive Architecture Awards program.

Saturday, June 21, 2014

Vice Provost for Distance Education to Serve on National Association Board

As we posted previously, LL.M. Program Announces Integrated Distance Option Fall 2014, this Fall marks the official launch of the distance education track for the LL.M. Program.

While some schools contract with private education companies to outsource their distance course development, at the University of Arkansas, we are fortunate to have a full team of distance education professionals in-house through our Global Campus.

The help we have received and continue to receive from Global Campus has been tremendous.  We have a team of distance education course designers assigned to our Program, and they work under the leadership of the Vice Provost for Distance Education, Dr. Javier Reyes.  Dr. Reyes has been a hands-on champion for our work, monitoring our progress and providing guidance.

This week, Dr. Reyes received national recognition for his work with distance education. He was appointed to the  board of directors for the University Professional and Continuing Education Association.  Congratulations, Dr. Reyes, and thank you again for your support in assuring the success of our online program.

The article below is a repost from a University of Arkansas Newswire announcement.

Javier A. Reyes, vice provost for distance education, has accepted a one-year appointment to the board of directors for the University Professional and Continuing Education Association and will attend his first meeting June 17.
Reyes, head of the Global Campus and an economics professor, will fill an unexpired term through March 2015 and then be eligible to serve a full two-year term of his own.

UPCEA, founded in 1915 and based in Washington D.C., is a leading national association for professional, continuing and online education that serves more than 395 institutions, including most of the leading public and private colleges and universities in North America. The association serves as a link between adult learners and public policy issues, and it provides innovative conferences and specialty seminars, research and benchmarking information, professional networking opportunities and timely publications.

The UPCEA board directs the affairs of the association, determines its policies and advances its goals, except as otherwise provided in the association’s bylaws.

 “As the university continues to grow its online programs and offerings, it is important that we step into national leadership roles that allow us to share our innovations and achievements with our peers,” Provost Sharon Gaber said. “I am confident that Javier Reyes, in his new appointment, will bring national attention to our accomplishments and help guide policy development that will shape the future of online education.”

 UPCEA recognizes the growing importance online education in addressing the needs of non-traditional students who seek to continue or further their education, Reyes said.

“UPCEA is looking to those who are leading the way in reshaping education by expanding online offerings,” Reyes said. “The University of Arkansas is taking an innovative approach to online learning because our online offerings are not separate from our academic campus, but an important part of it, an extension of it.”

Some institutions separate their on-campus and online academics. At the University of Arkansas, online degree programs and courses are embedded in the academic ecosphere, growing within departments inside colleges and schools on campus and nurtured by the faculty who create course content, set learning outcomes and establish degree programs.

Reyes leads the Global Campus, which supports academic colleges and schools in the development and delivery of online education by providing instructional design services, faculty development and workshops, technology services and help with strategic academic planning and marketing.
Other higher education institutions represented on the UPCEA board include Syracuse University; University of Wisconsin; Brown University; University of Massachusetts Amherst; North Carolina State University; University of Colorado, Boulder; Western Michigan University; McGill University; University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill; University of Minnesota; and University of California, Los Angeles.

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

LL.M. Alum Baylen Linnekin Publishes Article & Produces Video on Food Law & Policy

Baylen Linnekin
I am delighted to announce that the Wisconsin Law Review has published an excellent article discussing the origin and growth of the Food Law & Policy movement in law schools.  The article, written by our LL.M. alumnus, Baylen Linnekin, Executive Director of Keep Food Legal and co-author Emily Broad Lieb, Director of the Food Policy Clinic at Harvard Law School is titled Food Law & Policy: The Fertile Field's Origins & First Decade.  The article chronicles the development of Food Law & Policy, giving significant credit to our Program, as well as to our Visiting Professors, Neil Hamilton and Peter Barton Hutt, and our alumnus, Michael Roberts.

To accompany the article, Baylen arranged for the production of a video that describes the development of food law & policy and discusses the opportunities presented by this new discipline.  The video provides interviews with Food Law & Policy leaders as well as students involved in the food policy movement.

As detailed in both the article and the video, the number of Food Law & Policy courses at law schools is growing.  A recent Harvard Law School publication noted that there is "no hotter topic in law schools right now than food law and policy."  In fact, Baylen will be teaching a new 2-credit Food Law & Policy Seminar at George Mason University Law School this coming fall.

We all agree with a statement from Baylen's blog post about the project - Food Law & Policy will "continue to grow in scope and importance over the next decade."

The video is embedded below, and a link to the article will be provided as soon as it is available electronically.

Our sincere thanks to Baylen for his good work and for including us in this exciting project.


Sunday, June 15, 2014

LL.M. Professor Explains Farm Bill Provisions

Since the 2014 Farm Bill passed last winter, our visiting professor, Allen Olson has been very busy. When Allen is not teaching his condensed course in Federal Farm Programs and Crop Insurance for the LL.M. Program, he has an active full time regional agricultural law practice based in Georgia.  His farm clients as well as farm suppliers and lenders have all been looking to him to help figure out how the complex new provisions in the farm bill will apply to their operations.

Allen has delivered about 30 presentations to various groups and was recently interviewed by Chris Adams with the McClatchy News Service's Washington Bureau. The article focused on the peanut program -  a program that has received little attention in the media, but that is very important in several southern states.  It's also important to consumers.  The article was widely circulated to McClatchy news subscribers and emphasizes how complex the farm programs and farm policy can be.

Allen enjoying an outing w/students after class 
We are fortunate to have Allen as one of our visiting professors and look forward to his class next October 2014.

Here's an excerpt from the article, Peanut growers worry about unintended impact of farm bill, as printed in the Miami Herald.
In the heart of the nation’s peanut zone, farmers are putting substantially more runners into the ground than they did last year. And in the eyes of some industry experts, that boom might spell doom. 
“Runner peanuts” are used to make peanut butter _ not the bigger nuts you’ll find at the ballpark – and they’re the most prevalent of the types of peanuts grown in the United States. Overall peanut acreage is expected to be up substantially this year, around 30 percent more than last year throughout the nation’s 10 peanut-growing states. 
“I gave a speech to the Georgia Bankers Association a few weeks ago in which I described the possible problem as the ‘peanut apocalypse,’ ” said Allen Olson, a lawyer who specializes in farm issues in southern Georgia. 
His concern is that incentives in the recently enacted farm bill – the massive piece of legislation passed by Congress and signed by President Barack Obama amid much fanfare in February – could lead to over-planting and depressed prices, and ultimately might lead to farmers not receiving the benefits they expected.
Read more here:

Friday, June 13, 2014

LL.M. Faculty and Alumni to participate at the 1st International Conference on Food Safety, Hong Kong

This week, three attorneys with close ties to the LL.M. Program will participate in the 1st International Conference on Food Safety taking place on the campus of the University of Hong Kong, June 16-18, 2014.

Adam Soliman
According to the website, "The conference will address the emerging issues and the diverse aspects of food safety with special emphasis on global impact." The Conference Programme, features an impressive line up of speakers.

Participating in the conference is LL.M. Alumnus Adam Soliman, who assisted with conference organization. Adam completed our program in 2013 and is now the Director of The Fisheries Law Centre in Vancouver. He is a graduate of the University of Hong Kong Law School.

William D. Marler
Participating as featured Conference Speakers at Adam's invitation are two nationally recognized food law experts from the United States, also with ties to our Program.

Leading U.S. foodborne illness litigation attorney, William D. (Bill) Marler, will deliver a keynote address, Why It Is a Bad Idea to Poison Your Customers. Bill is a frequent speaker at food law conferences here and abroad and is a founding partner of the Marler Clark law firm based in Seattle. He is also the founder of the internationally acclaimed news service, Food Safety News.

Peter Barton Hutt
Bill Marler's presentation will be followed by a keynote address by Harvard University Law School's Food & Drug Law Professor, Peter Barton Hutt, an attorney with the Washington, D.C. law firm of Covington & Burling.  Professor Hutt is the author of the foundation Press Food & Drug Law casebook. He will speak on Current Food Law in Historical Context.

Both Bill Marler and Peter Barton Hutt have taught food law courses within the LL.M. Program in the past.  Bill Marler has taught our Food Safety Litigation course for a number of years, and Professor Hutt has taught Selected Issues in Food Law. We hope to have them back with us again soon.

We wish we could be in Hong Kong with our friends for this excellent conference.

Friday, June 6, 2014

LL.M. Candidate A-dae Romero named Fulbright Scholar

Congratulations to LL.M. Candidate Vena A-Dae Romero, named yesterday as one of five University of Arkansas Student Fulbright Scholars. A-Dae will be focusing her work on indigenous food sovereignty in New Zealand, comparing similar colonial experiences between the Maori people of New Zealand and the American Indians in the United States and exploring the influence of traditional food systems. A-dae completed her coursework in the LL.M. Program in May 2014. The University of Arkansas Newswire announcement is included below.

Five University of Arkansas Students Named Fulbright Scholars 

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. – Five University of Arkansas students have been awarded prestigious J. William Fulbright Scholarships to complete their studies or teach abroad during the upcoming academic year. The Fulbright international exchange program offers students the opportunity to travel to a country of their choice, either to conduct advanced research in their fields of study or to teach English in elementary and secondary schools. Of the five University of Arkansas students awarded, two received research scholarships and three won English teaching assistantships. Two applied as undergraduates; three as graduate students. A sixth student received a Fulbright Scholarship, but accepted a different award instead.

The Fulbright winners are Anne Greeott of Seattle, Washington, M.F.A. in literary translation and creative writing; Courtney Hill of Jonesboro, B.S. in civil engineering; Karsten Powers of Cabot, B.A. in Spanish and international relations; Vena A’dae Romero of Cochiti Pueblo, New Mexico, LL.M. in agricultural and food law; and Rachael Schaffner of Spring, Texas, M.A. in English.

“There is no dearer scholarship program to the University of Arkansas than the Fulbright,” said G. David Gearhart, chancellor of the University of Arkansas. “To have five students receive this prestigious award is a tribute to the quality of our students and to the great work being done in the colleges, in the graduate school, and in the study abroad office. 

“Sen. Fulbright said that the purpose of this program is to foster ‘leadership, learning, and empathy between cultures,’ and I know these students will embrace these goals and will serve as excellent ambassadors for our institution, for Arkansas and the United States.”

The Fulbright program was established in 1946 through legislation sponsored by Sen. J. William Fulbright of Arkansas, to promote international education as a means of fostering cultural and political understanding across the globe. More than 155 countries participate in the program, and approximately 1,900 students from all fields of study are awarded grants each year. Since its creation, the Fulbright program has allowed more than 325,000 people worldwide to participate in international educational exchange. Students receive approximately $25,000 for the year.

Anne Greeott, a Walton Creative Writing Fellow, is pursuing a Master of Fine Arts in literary translation and creative writing in the department of English in the J. William Fulbright College of Arts and Sciences. She has been awarded a Fulbright Scholarship to travel to Rome to complete her work on translations of the poet Mario Luzi, a Nobel prize nominee. In addition to her research, she will teach periodic workshops on poetry and literary translation to public high school students in Rome.

Courtney Hill, a Chancellor’s Scholar and Distinguished Governor’s Scholar, is an undergraduate Honors College student in the College of Engineering, majoring in civil engineering with sustainability minor. She was also a recipient of an Honors College Research Grant and an Honors College Study Abroad Grant. She received her Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering this spring. She will spend the upcoming year teaching English in South Korea before pursuing a doctorate in civil engineering as a National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellow. 

Karsten Powers, an Honors College Fellow and an Arkansas Governor’s Scholar, majored in Spanish and international relations in Fulbright College, minoring German. Powers also received an Honors College Research Grant. He graduated this spring and will teach English in Madrid, Spain, in the fall. After completing the Fulbright, he plans to pursue a Master of Arts in international relations.

Vena Romero has just completed the Master of Laws program in agricultural and food law at the School of Law. She will complete a research study on indigenous food sovereignty in New Zealand. Her study will compare similar colonial experiences between the Maori people of New Zealand and the American Indians in the United States and explore the influence of traditional food systems. 

Rachael Schaffner is a master’s student in the department of English in Fulbright College. She will teach English at Ataturk University in Erzurum, Turkey. When she returns, she plans to pursue a doctorate in ecological criticism.

Adrian Beam majored in music and European studies in Fulbright College, graduating this spring. She was offered a Fulbright Scholarship to teach English in Austria but declined the offer to accept the Austrian Government Teaching Award. 

“A Fulbright Scholarship can have a lasting effect on lucky recipients as well as the communities they live in during their year abroad,” said DeDe Long, the director of the University of Arkansas Study Abroad Program and the campus Fulbright Program adviser. “The program stretches students in many ways, opening a world of new educational and personal opportunities. I feel privileged to work with these exceptional students and watch them embrace these new experiences.”

These awards to University of Arkansas students come at a time when the Fulbright program is facing budget cuts of more than $30 million during the next year. Many educators around the world – including Chancellor Gearhart – have spoken in defense of the program, highlighting the long-term benefits of the Fulbright Scholarship for students and for society at large. More information about the proposed cuts is available online

Students wanting to apply for the Fulbright Scholarship should contact the office of study abroad (722 W. Maple St., Fayetteville, AR) at 479-575-7582 or The campus deadline for the 2015-2016 year is Sept. 22.



DeDe Long, director

Office of Study Abroad


Steve Voorhies, manager, media relations

University Relations


Members of the media can subscribe to the weekday Arkansas Newswire email by sending a note to Charlie Alison at

Thursday, June 5, 2014

Professor Christopher Kelley to Moderate Negotiation Workshop, Fulbright Program in Ukraine

University of Arkansas Professor of Law and LL.M. Faculty Christopher Kelley will return to Kyiv in June by invitation of the Fulbright Program in Ukraine to moderate a two-day Negotiation Workshop.  

Professor Christopher Kelley was a Fulbright Scholar in Kharkiv, Ukraine, in 2005 and in Chisinau, Moldova, in 2011. He continues to teach at universities in Ukraine and Moldova through interactive digital video conferencing and in person. He also has taught and continues to teach in Belarus and Lithuania and has taught in Kazakhstan and Russia. He is a part-time Professor at Kyiv Taras Shevchenko National University and a consultant to the Inyurpolis Law Firm in Kharkiv. 

Professor Kelley has taken University of Arkansas law students to Moldova, Ukraine, and Belarus. He was the first American law professor to teach at the Belarusian State University Law Faculty and his Transnational Negotiation students were the first American law students to participate in a course at the BSU Law Faculty. 

Currently the Chair of the Public International Law I Division of the American Bar Association Section of International Law, Professor Kelley previously served three terms as the Co-Chair of the Section’s Russia/Eurasia Committee. He is now a Senior Adviser to the Russia/Eurasia Committee. He also has served as Vice-Chair of the Section’s Committee on International Legal Education and Specialist Certification. He was a delegate on the Section’s International Legal Exchange (ILEX) briefing trips to Poland, Jordan, Lebanon, Australia, and New Zealand. He participated in the World Justice Project’s World Justice Forums I and II in Vienna and the World justice Forum IV in The Hague. Recently he was appointed to an ad hoc working group to advise the American Bar Association’s President on ongoing developments in Ukraine. 

Professor Kelley is a member of the Fulbright Association Board of Directors. He also was a member of the Board of Directors of the Fulbright Academy before the Fulbright Academy merged with the Fulbright Association. Professor Kelley is a member of the editorial boards of the Baltic Journal of Law and Politics published by Vytautas Magnus University in Kaunas, Lithuania, and Law and Civil Society published by Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv, Ukraine. 

He was on the Board of Directors of the Fulbright Academy. He also is a member of the International Bar Association. Before joining the faculty in 1998, Professor Kelley practiced in large and small law firms variously in Minnesota, Arkansas, Georgia, and the District of Columbia. He also has been a public defender, a legal services attorney, and staff counsel to the American Civil Liberties Union of Mississippi. He began his legal career in the Solicitor General’s Office of the Minnesota Attorney General. 

Professor Kelley has taught at the William Mitchell College of Law, the University of North Dakota School of Law, the University of South Dakota School of Law, and the Drake University Law School. He is admitted to practice in Arkansas, Georgia, Minnesota, North Dakota, and the District of Columbia, though he has active status only in Arkansas.

Registration and Workshop information may be found here.

Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Janie Hipp, Director of the Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative featured in New American Media Story

The article copied below is repost from New American Media. View the original article here.


New America Media, News Report, Khalil Abdullah, Posted: Jun 01, 2014 Photo courtesy of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

DETROIT – About two years ago, the W.K. Kellogg Foundation made a gutsy call to convene its 2014 food and nutrition conference in Detroit. Even then, declining economic fortunes and subsequent social disruptions dominated most of the narratives about the city’s future.

Yet, the wisdom of selecting the Motor City as the host site for this May’s Harvesting Change Food and Community Gathering was borne out last week as more than 650 food advocates from Hawaii, Alaska, and the lower 48 gathered to share knowledge and information about the “good food” movement.

“I’m a give you compost the only way a poet and emcee can give it to you,” boasted Detroit-born spoken-word artist Kidiri Sennefer, one of conference’s first speakers. He then launched into a rap that examined the politics of America’s eating habits, fast-food addictions and corporate food-systems dominance.

Sennefer’s day job is compost manger of D-Town Farm, ensuring enriched soil for the vegetables and fruits grown on the now seven-acre enterprise inside Rouge Park, Detroit’s largest public park.

The farm is a project of the Detroit Black Community Food Security Network, a grassroots organization. Its mission is to improve the nutritional and dietary options for city residents through good food.

Conference attendees ranged from farmers and farm workers to urban gardeners, restaurant workers, policy analysts, and nutritionists.

Betti Wiggins of the Detroit Public Schools Office of School Nutrition said her office has received great support, some through the network of relationships past conferences afforded her. She said the city is attaining its goals of bringing healthier foods to school children, particularly through its lunch program.

“I’m proud to say we’re a big fat success,” she exclaimed, noting that Detroit’s lunches now exceed USDA standards and the school system’s progress and achievements have been nationally recognized by good food advocates, including the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. Wiggins encouraged attendees to also visit “our 77 school gardens, our two-acre farm” which contribute to the school system’s aggregate of locally grown food. She said her office has plans to add another 30 acres at a high school as a resource.

Importantly, Wiggins pointed out, the school system, at 22 percent, has exceeded its goal of drawing 20 percent of its food from farms and gardens in and around Detroit and that benchmark will continue to be raised. In addition, 16 new permanent staff positions have been added as a result, a glimpse of the potential of how sourcing locally grown and regional food can contribute to a city’s employment base.

One fiscal argument for augmenting local food networks is to reduce the tremendous costs that fuel and labor add to shipping produce from distant sites, whether in urban areas like Detroit or rural regions of the country such as Alaska.

“In some of our isolated villages in Alaska, families are having to choose between the price of heating oil and food,” reported Dave Monture, technical assistance specialist for the Intertribal Agriculture Council. He said the cost of milk in some areas has risen to $20 a gallon. But Monture said he was encouraged for the future of sustainable agriculture practices and the good food movement by the presence of youth participants in attendance scattered among and often mentored by their elders with decades of experience. Still, Monture cautioned that perfecting expertise in community development initiatives must be balanced by the holistic awareness of the impact of larger systems on food issues, energy and climate change.

Monture was born on the Six Nations Reserve, Ontario and his mother is from the Akwesasne reservation in New York. A former Director of Economic Development for the Su’naq Tribe of Kodiak, Alaska, he noted that one weather station in the state recorded 97 degrees below Fahrenheit this winter; “the old-timers in the Aleutians are seeing sea creatures and birds they’ve never seen before” as a result of unstable weather patterns.

Representatives from other Native American communities also voiced concerns about drought, the unpredictable circumstances nature sometimes presents – a wandering elk who feasted on vine-ripened crops in New Mexico -- but also about the man-made barriers to sustainable food practices: lack of access to capital and increasing costs associated with food operations.

At the heart of the drive for food security is the concept of sovereignty. “We are not sovereign if we can't feed ourselves,” tweeted one attendee, quoting Janie Simms Hipp of the Chickasaw Nation, who served as senior advisor for tribal affairs at the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA) and was the recent director of the USDA Office of Tribal Relations. Last year she co-authored an article on food sovereignty.

“We absolutely must include time to discuss our food insecurity, resiliency of our indigenous food systems, and how to feed the most vulnerable among us in times of crisis,” Hipp wrote. “After all, it wasn’t too long ago that starvation was used to force tribes into submission.”

That sentiment was echoed by urban dwellers, intimately aware of their food insecurity and dependence on outside actors.

Malik Yakini, executive director of the network that includes rap artist/compost manager Sennefer’s employer, said DBCFSN is planning to open a Detroit food cooperative in 2015. In his view, the need for a co-op emerged from the inferior quality of foods sold in stores in predominantly African-American neighborhoods, the disrespect often shown those same neighborhood residents by store employees, and the outflow of resources that could be better directed toward attaining food security.

Yakini reminded out-of-towners that, “Detroit is in a serious crisis.” He cited “the imposition of an emergency manager on the city of Detroit by the governor of the state,” a newly established position “whose powers supersede those of [the city’s] elected officials.”

He said that DBCFSN has been educating residents and organizing resistance to this “assault on democracy. If it can happen in Detroit, it can happen wherever you live as well,” he warned.

NAM editor Khalil Abdullah attended the Harvesting Change Food and Community Gathering as a guest of the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

LL.M. Candidate Lands California Sea Grant Fellowship

We are excited to announce that  Lauren Bernadett, an LL.M. candidate, will be working as a 2014-2015 California Sea Grant Fellow with the California State Lands Commission (CSLC) in Sacramento.

California Sea Grant is one of the state-versions of the national Sea Grant Program.  Every year, California Sea Grant picks a group of fellows through a competitive interview process.  Through another interview and ranking process, fellows are then matched with state agencies in California that engage in coastal and marine resources work.  California Sea Grant typically hires Masters or Ph.D. students with science backgrounds, but Lauren saw the program’s potential to provide a great opportunity for her to work with State attorneys and an outlet to continue her focus on coastal, fisheries, and aquaculture law and policy.  She knew that the CSLC would provide the ideal fellowship experience because of its important legal and management work with the California ocean.

The CSLC has jurisdiction over granted school lands and sovereign lands.  Sovereign lands are the lands underlying California’s navigable waters, including tide and submerged lands from the mean high tide line to three nautical miles offshore.  The CSLC holds sovereign lands for the benefit of the people of California, subject to the Public Trust Doctrine.  As part of its work, the CSLC determines whether proposed uses of sovereign lands are consistent with the Public Trust Doctrine and carry out environmental review under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA).

Lauren has already taken on a lot of responsibility at the CSLC in the realm of coastal law and policy.  She is working on multiple projects related to sea level rise and its effects on existing and future coastal development and uses in California.  Her other projects relate to seawalls, reef enhancement, and oil and gas leases.  She has been working with staff attorneys on CEQA matters and statutory interpretation issues.  She will deliver a presentation on shellfish aquaculture leasing and permitting in California at the Headwaters to Ocean Conference in San Diego at the end of May.  As the CSLC works on many different types of issues, Lauren knows that she will have the chance to work on a diverse range of projects during her fellowship.  Overall, she thinks that the fellowship will be a very valuable experience and an important component of her ideal legal career.

We wish Lauren the best of luck with this next step!

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

First Food Law Conference at UCLA Law a Huge Success

A segment of the conference program's cover page.
Last month, UCLA Law’s Resnick Program for Food Law and Policy hosted its first conference: Food Fight: An Examination of Recent Trends in Food Litigation and Where We Go From HereProfessor Michael Roberts, an alumnus and previously a professor at the LL.M. Program, is the Executive Director of the Resnick Program and did a fantastic job hosting the conference.  One of our current LL.M. candidates who is an alumna of UCLA Law and Professor Roberts’ past student, Lauren Bernadett, had the privilege of attending the conference.

The conference was a full day of learning about food law from some of the most preeminent food law attorneys in the country.  The Dean of UCLA Law welcomed the attendees and moved right into the first panel, which addressed food labeling litigation in the “Food Court.”  The panel included Katie O’Sullivan, a partner at Perkins Coie; Steve Gardner, the Director of Litigation at Center for Science in the Public Interest; and Samuel Wiseman, a professor at Florida State University College of Law.  In the panel presentations and the question and answer session following the panel, the speakers discussed the social utility of food litigation and noted that some courts, including the Ninth Circuit, still see food labeling litigation as trivial.

The second panel discussed recent trends in food litigation including case law, legal theories, and settlements.  The panelists were Michael Reese, a named partner of Reese Richman LLP; Diana Winters, a professor at Indiana University School of Law; and Dean Panos, a partner in the Chicago office of Jenner & Block.  This panel addressed the importance of unfair competition laws and the increasing scrutiny of the class representative.

During lunch, Paul Miller, the president of the Australian Olive Association, gave a captivating talk on the process of making olive oil and the threats posed to the olive oil industry by product adulteration.

The afternoon started with an invigorating panel that analyzed recent federal and state legislation that will affect food litigation in upcoming years.  This panel addressed many fascinating topics including the POM Wonderful case, the Food Safety Modernization Act, the possible success of food addiction litigation, trans fat, the Humane Society’s temporary alliance with the United Egg Producers, and Vermont’s GMO-labeling law.  The panel included Dennis Stearns, a professor at Seattle University School of Law and founding partner at the Marler Clark Firm; Bruce Silverglade, a principal of Olsson, Frank, Weeda, Terman, Matz PC; Michele Simon, the president of Eat Drink Politics; and Neal Fortin, a professor from Michigan State University College of Law.

The last panel explored litigation as a tool for reforming the food system.  The panelists discussed examples of cases that address the negative implications of the food system in the United States, including environmental degradation and compromised food safety.  The panelists addressed the use of antibiotics in raising livestock, the FDA’s voluntary guidance on antibiotics, concentrated animal feeding operations, and the fragmented food regulatory system.  The panelists were Robert Bodzin, a partner at Burnham Brown and the chair of the State Bar’s Litigation Section; Leslie Brueckner, a senior food safety and health attorney with Public Justice; and Avinash Kar, a staff attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council who works on food issues.

The conference was well attended by law students from multiple law schools and attorneys from large firms, small firms, academia, and the public/non-profit sector. 

Overall, the conference was a huge success.  It was especially impressive considering that it was the first conference hosted by the Resnick Program, which is still in its first year.  Congratulations, Professor Roberts, on a fantastic first conference – we can’t wait to hear about the next one!

Saturday, May 10, 2014

Celebrating our LL.M. Faculty: Christopher Kelley

Christopher Kelley is an Associate Professor of Law at the University of Arkansas School of Law in Fayetteville, teaching in both the LL.M. Program and the J.D. Program.  His agricultural law expertise is well grounded in his representation of farmers through firms in Georgia, Arkansas, Minnesota, and Washington, D.C.  Prior to his position at the University of Arkansas, Professor Kelley taught agricultural law courses at William Mitchell College of Law, North Dakota University School of Law School, South Dakota University Law School, and Drake University Law School.  He has published numerous articles on agricultural law subjects and two comprehensive lawyer's guides on payment limitations and administrative appeals.

Professor Kelley regularly teaches Agriculture & the Environment and will supervise the development of our expanded environmental law curriculum. He also regularly teaches Regulated Markets in Agriculture and Specialized Legal Research and Writing. This Spring he taught our new course, Selected Issues in International Agricultural and Food Law.  And, he is developing another new course for Fall 2014, Administrative Process and Practice in Agricultural & Food Law.

As additional evidence of the breadth of his agricultural law expertise, over the years, he has also taught Cooperative Law, Regulation of Agriculture, Agricultural Perspectives and specialized courses on the farm programs and the Packers & Stockyards Act.  He is a former recipient of the Distinguished Service Award of the American Agricultural Law Association.

In the law school's J.D. program, Professor Kelley's teaches Administrative Law, Transnational Negotiation, International Commercial Arbitration, Law and Development (with Professor Uche Ewleuka), and a Rule of Law Colloquium.  These courses are also available to interested LL.M. candidates.

In recent years, Professor Kelley has developed extensive international law expertise and experience. He serves as a board member for the Fulbright Alumni Association and his international law work was recently featured in the association's magazine, The Fulbright Edge.  An excerpt is as follows:
Professor Kelley was a Fulbright Scholar in Kharkiv, Ukraine, in 2005 and in Chisinau, Moldova, in 2011. He continues to teach at universities in Ukraine and Moldova through interactive digital video conferencing and in person. He also has taught and continues to teach in Belarus and Lithuania and has taught in Kazakhstan and Russia. He is a part-time Professor at Kyiv Taras Shevchenko National University in Kyiv and a consultant to the Inyurpolis Law Firm in Kharkiv. 
Professor Kelley has taken University of Arkansas law students to Moldova, Ukraine, and Belarus. He was the first American law professor to teach at the Belarusian State University Law Faculty and his Transnational Negotiation students were the first American law students to participate in a course at the BSU Law Faculty. 
Currently the Chair of the Public International Law I Division of the American Bar Association Section of International Law, Professor Kelley previously served three terms as the Co- Chair of the Section’s Russia/ Eurasia Committee. He is now a Senior Adviser to the Russia/Eurasia Committee. He also has served as Vice-Chair of the Section’s Committee on International Legal Education and Specialist Certification. He was a delegate on the Section’s International Legal Exchange (ILEX) briefing trips to Poland, Jordan, Lebanon, Australia, and New Zealand. He participated in the World Justice Project’s World Justice Forums I and II in Vienna and the World justice Forum IV in The Hague. Recently, he was appointed to an ad hoc Section Committee to advise the American Bar Association’s President on ongoing developments in Ukraine. 
Professor Kelley is a member of the editorial boards of the Baltic Journal of Law and Politics published by Vytautas Magnus University in Kaunas, Lithuania, and Law and Civil Society published by Taras Shevchenko National University of Kyiv, Ukraine. He was on the Board of Directors of the Fulbright Academy. He also is a member of the International Bar Association.
As we post this, Professor Kelley just arrived for a week of teaching in Moldova. He returns on Friday so that he can participate in our graduation ceremonies for this year's LL.M. class.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

Summer Leadership Summit: Native Youth in Agriculture-Apply Now

The Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative at the University of Arkansas School of Law will host a program for Native American youth in the summer of 2014. The Summer Leadership Summit: Native Youth in Agriculture will welcome at least 50 high school and college students to campus for a week of classes on risk management, finance and business, legal issues and marketing.

University of Arkansas professors, professionals in the food and agriculture sector and tribal leaders will teach the courses. Students from each of the Bureau of Indian Affairs regions will attend. Application materials and program descriptions will be available soon on the program’s website.

“This is an outstanding example of interdisciplinary work at the University of Arkansas,” said Sharon Gaber, provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs. “Our faculty will use their considerable expertise to help build a sustainable food and agriculture sector.”

The Intertribal Agriculture Council, FFA (formerly the Future Farmers of America), and the Farm Credit Council are partnering with the School of Law on the program, which is supported by a grant from the Risk Management Agency of the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

“The Leadership Institute Program will provide a pipeline of support for building the next generation of tribal food and agriculture leaders,” said Janie Hipp, director of the Indigenous Food and Agriculture Initiative.

“This long-needed program will expose youth to the role governments play in American Indian agriculture,” said Ross Racine, executive director of the Intertribal Agriculture Council. “The program will provide a foundation from which each attendee can build an informed educational foundation and the program will provide a financial record-keeping foundation which will be beneficial for each attendee no matter what future career they choose to pursue.”

“Farm Credit is proud to be a partner in the development of leadership and financial skills among Native American young and beginning farmers,” said Gary Matteson, vice president of the Farm Credit Council’s Young, Beginning, Small Farmer Programs and Outreach. “The future is bright for agriculture on tribal lands, and Farm Credit expects this program will be participants’ first step in achieving long-term farm business success.”

“We are committed to diversity as we continue to build today’s FFA into a more empowered and inclusive organization,” said Dwight Armstrong, chief executive officer of the National FFA Organization. “This grant will provide funding for Native American FFA members and others to participate in a risk management and leadership development conference next summer. We are grateful for this opportunity and pleased to be a part of this project.”

For more information, or to support the Leadership Program, please contact Janie Hipp at or visit the Summit webpage.

NOTE:  Janie is a graduate of the LL.M. Program - and it's great to have her back with us, providing leadership on Native agricultural and food law issues.

Tuesday, May 6, 2014

Legal Assistance for Military Veterans in Farming

Jason Foscolo is a former Judge Advocate, a veteran of the United States Marine Corps, and the founding partner of The Food Law Firm in New York. He and his partner, Lauren Handel are alumni of the LL.M. Program.

Jason also serves as general counsel to the Farmer Veteran Coalition and notes that the firm "is committed to the successful transition of military veterans into the agriculture industry, and . . . very proud to support the superb work of the Farmer Veteran Coalition." This is cross-posted from The Food Law Firm blog, Legal Assistance for Military Veterans in Farming.
Farming and food production can involve a variety of complicated legal transactions. Professional advice is essential at innumerable points during a farmer’s career. The Farmer Veteran Coalition now has a resource for farmer-veterans who have questions about contracts, product liability, labeling law, trademarks, or any other issue they may face. In cooperation with our firm, The Farmer Veteran Coalition can now offer a range of free legal services to military veterans who have previously registered with the Coalition. 
If you are a military veteran with legal questions about your farm business, you can contact, or you can contact Foscolo & Handel PLLC directly at (888) 908 – 4959 or at
Jason also puts the call out to attorneys:
The Coalition supports the efforts of farmer-veterans across the country. If you are a fellow attorney willing to provide pro bono services to veterans in your jurisdiction, send an email to and introduce yourself!  We can refer veterans to you as the need for local counsel arises.

Thursday, May 1, 2014

Lauren Handel & Nicole Civita Speak About Urban Agriculture Law & Policy at ABA CLE Program

As city dwellers around the country have become increasingly interested - and directly involved -  in how their food is produced, state & local governments and attorneys must create policies that harmoniously facilitate agricultural activity in urban settings. Recognizing that lawyers need models, resources and education on the ways in which urban agriculture intersects with the law, the ABA Section of State & Local Government Law recently convened a session on Legal Pickles, Planning Tools, and Case Studies in Urban Ag. The LL.M. program supplied two of the four panelists for this session: LL.M. alumnae Lauren Handel, a partner at Foscolo & Handel PLLC, and Nicole Civita, a Visiting Assistant Professor in our own program and a member of Fayetteville’s Local Food Policy Working Group.

Professor Civita began the session by offering a concise history of urban cultivation in the United States and an overview of various policy and planning tools that can be used to mindfully encourage cultivation of produce and humane, responsible husbandry of small livestock within city limits. Professor Civita the contextualized the current interest in entrepreneurial urban agriculture and distinguished it from historical community gardening initiatives. She encouraged local leaders to devise scale-appropriate, character-sensitive policies that enable long-term investment in diverse forms of urban food production. She also emphasized the importance of auditing a region’s food policies and assessing its food system before enacting new laws and allowing the policy development process to be guided by the needs of the community.

Lauren Handel provided an well organized overview of "Right to Farm" laws, which shield farmers in all 50 states from nuisance liability under statutorily-set circumstances. She also offered a forward-looking assessment of the ways in which such laws might be used to facilitate or thwart urban agriculture. Lauren noted that because right to farm laws were not intended to apply to urban agriculture the can be a poor fit for this emerging type of farming. In many states, these laws will not provide urban farmers with the nuisance immunity afforded to traditional, rurally sited farms, which raises concerns about fairness and may serve as a deterrent to urban farming. Other states' laws could be construed to apply to urban farms, but they will be difficult to apply to relatively new, diverse and evolving urban farming practices. Moreover, to the extent that right to farm laws apply in cities and preempt local laws, they can serve as a significant disincentive to the official promotion of urban agriculture.

Nicole & Lauren were joined on the panel by Kami Pothukuchi, an Associate Professor of Urban Studies & Planning at Wayne State University in Detroit, Michigan and Gordon Smith, a councilman for the city of Asheville, North Carolina (where the conference was held), both of whom are visionary advocates for urban agriculture. Professor Pothukuchi & Councilman Smith offered concrete examples of how urban agriculture has been boldly supported at the municipal level in Detroit and Asheville. Professor Civita added another real-world perspective by speaking about her work on the City of Fayetteville’s newly enacted urban agriculture ordinance.

This CLE program offered tips on how to help urban farmers secure access to growing spaces, how to facilitate in-neighborhood marketing of city-raised food products, how keep manage chickens and goats in a metropolis, and how to regulate urban beekeeping. The organizer and moderator of the panel, Sorell Negro, reports that the presentations generated significant buzz among the attendees at the section meeting several of whom have indicated that they will be applying some of the strategies suggested in their own communities.

The positive feedback on this CLE program demonstrates that there is a wide audience for the forthcoming ABA-published book on Urban Agricultural law that features the chapters written not only by Lauren and Nicole, but by several other graduates and faculty of our LL.M. program, including Jason Foscolo, Andy Frame, Sara Albert, Lauren Bernadett and Susan Schneider.

Sunday, April 27, 2014

LL.M. Candidates Recognized for Excellence

Two of this year's LL.M. candidates, Kathryn Smith and Erin Shirl were honored for their exceptional work this semester as externs in the food safety compliance division of Walmart.  They are pictured here with nationally recognized food safety expert,  Frank Yiannas and one of their supervising attorneys, our alumna, Amy White. Amy serves as the Food Safety and Health Manager for Labeling Compliance at Walmart.

Congratulations to Kathryn and Erin for a job well done.

LL.M. Alum Margie Alsbrook at Food Waste and Hunger Summit

The inaugural Food Waste & Hunger Summit was held on April 5 & 6 at Northwestern University.  We were proud to have a strong presence representing the LL.M. Program.

LL.M. Alumna Margie Alsbrook presented at the conferencing, discussing the importance of awareness and partnerships in the fight against hunger and the techniques for getting the best outcomes in an awareness campaign. She discussed how awareness is the first step towards true societal change.  She also talked about best practices: if you start with the impact you want to make and the measurements you want to hit (as opposed to looking at the resources you have) then you will get better results.  It was an inspirational message for the many students in the audience -  students who are anxious to make a difference  -   eliminating hunger and food waste.

Margie serves as Director of Operations for Farm Journal Foundation in Columbia, Missouri. She is a graduate of the University of Arkansas School of Law and of the LL.M. Program. She was the inaugural editor in chief of the Journal of Food Law & Policy.

As noted in the blog post, Professor Civita on Legal Issues and Food Recovery, Professor Nicole Civita, Visiting Assistant Professor in the LL.M Program and Director of the Food Recovery Project also addressed the conference, covering legal liability issues. Professor Civita is author of the popular publication, Food Recovery: A Legal Guide.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Celebrating our LL.M. Faculty: Neil Hamilton

We try to post news from our students and alumni, and we report on events in the LL.M. Program. Sometimes the accomplishments of our outstanding faculty do not get the credit they deserve.

Here's an update on Professor Neil Hamilton - one of the central figures in our course of study. He serves as the Dwight D. Opperman Chair of Law and Professor of Law at Drake University Law School and as the Director of the Drake Agricultural Law Center.

Under Professor Hamilton's leadership, Drake became the first American law school to offer a specialization in agricultural law.  The Agricultural Law Center that he founded at Drake has been doing excellent agricultural work for over 30 years.

The University of Arkansas School of Law and the LL.M. Program have been proud to have a longstanding collaboration with Professor Hamilton and the Drake Agricultural Law Center.

Professor Hamilton teaches An Introduction to the Law of Food & Agriculture each Fall in the LL.M. Program and returns in the Spring to teach an advanced class.  In the past, he has taught Agricultural Biotechnology, Agricultural Production Contracting, and Rural Lands and Rural Livelihoods, and this year, he taught his new course on Local and Regional Food Systems, including a unit on the 2014 Farm Bill.

Professor Hamilton is a great friend to the LL.M. Program and a longstanding leader in agricultural and food law. He was one of the founding professors of our Program, teaching during our inaugural class year, over thirty years ago. Throughout his career, he has been recognized for his vision regarding the emerging issues affecting agriculture and sustainability, and he is credited with leading the integration of agricultural and food law studies.  That leadership continues.

We celebrate Professor Hamilton's accomplishments and bring news from Des Moines.

U.S. Secretary Tom Vilsack visited the Drake University Agricultural Law Center on April 22nd to meet with Prof. Neil Hamilton, Director of the Center, to discuss current projects and to reaffirm the historic relation between USDA and Drake University.  Secretary Vilsack was a visiting professor at Drake during the Spring of 2007.  He is pictured here with Prof. Hamilton and other members of the Agricultural Law Center staff, Matt Russell, Jenny Zwagerman (LL.M. Alumna), Poppy Davis (J.D. student who we hope will soon be an LL.M. candidate) and Ed Cox.

Monday, April 21, 2014

Ag & Food Law Employment - Recent Graduate Placement

Obtaining rewarding legal employment has been challenging for some recent law graduates. There is no "magic bullet" or secret to success. We believe, however, that an LL.M. degree in Agricultural & Food Law can be very useful in finding specialized employment and in distinguishing attorneys from those with only a J.D. degree.  

For experienced attorneys, our Program has been a way to enhance specialized skills or to chart a new career path.  Jason Foscolo of Foscolo & Handel PLLC - The Food Law Firm - in New York stated, "I could not do what I do without having completed the LL.M. Program in Agriculture and Food Law. Attending the Program was the best professional choice I have made as an attorney."

Our LL.M. Program is small and specialized by design. In the past, we have enrolled only an average of about 10-12 students a year. No one is guaranteed a job at graduation, and some take a while to find that perfect match. However, the following list evidences the diversity of employment opportunities and highlights the talents of our LL.M. candidates. We are proud of their achievements.

Listed below are some of the positions that are currently held by recent (2011- 2013) LL.M. Students/Alumni. Note that our more experienced alumni are found as partners in their law firms, in high level positions at USDA and other agencies, in agribusiness, in academia and elsewhere.  But, that's another list.  Here, we honor our most recent graduates, with their positions listed in no particular order.

Assistant to the Administrator, USDA Risk Management Agency 
Washington, D.C. 

Counsel, Senate Committee on Agriculture, Nutrition, and Forestry 
Washington, D.C.

Associate Attorney, Stoel Rives LLP 
Seattle, WA

Executive Director, Ten Rivers Food Web 
Portland, Oregon

Fellow, Food Law & Policy Clinic, Harvard Law School 
Boston, MA

Senior Advisor and Counsel, US Senator John Walsh 
Washington, D.C.

Staff Attorney, North Carolina General Assembly Research Division
Raleigh, NC 

Corporate Counsel, Tyson Foods, Inc. Legal Department 
Springdale, AR

African Trade Development Specialist, Arkansas World Trade Center 
Rogers, AR

Attorney, Farm and Food Law L.L.C. 
Denver, CO

Associate Attorney, Bassett Law Firm 
Fayetteville, AR

Program Manager, Hunger Initiatives, National Council on Aging 
Washington, D.C.

Associate, DLA Piper 
St. Petersburg, Russia 

Visiting Assistant Professor, University of Arkansas School of Law 
Fayetteville, AR 

Attorney, The Food Law Firm 
Sag Harbor, NY 

Associate Attorney, Adams and Reese 
Jackson, MS 

Senior Counsel, AdvoCare International, LP 
Dallas, TX 

Associate Attorney, Browning, Kaleczyc, Berry, & Hoven P.C 
Helena, Montana

Contract Management Specialist, Philips 
Moscow, Russia 

Director, The Fisheries Law Centre 
Vancouver, B.C 

Associate Attorney, Banks Law Firm PLLC 
Little Rock, AR 

Assistant U.S. Attorney 
Little Rock, AR 

Food Safety Manager, Walmart Home Office 
Bentonville, AR 

Associate Attorney, NC General Assembly Health & Public Assistance Section
Raleigh, NC

Consultant, International Finance Corporation 
San Francisco, CA 

Attorney/Partner, McFarland, Pyle and Stone 
Portland, OR

 Senior Director, Environmental Health & Safety, Real Estate, Walmart Home Office 
Bentonville, AR 

Senior Director of Customs & Industry Compliance, Retail Industry Leaders Assoc. 
Arlington, VA 

Attorney, Lucas County Common Pleas Court 
Toledo, OH 

We would also like to recognize the recent graduates who came to us as law professors. They have returned or moved on to new opportunities, teaching with an enhanced understanding of agricultural and food law, passing this knowledge on to their law students:  

Professor of Law, University of Missouri School of Law 
Columbia, MO 

Visiting Assistant Professor of Law at Vermont Law School
(now visiting at the University of Arkansas School of Law)

Dean, Professor of Law & Director of the Institute of Agricultural & Food Law, 
Yeungnam University 
Gyeongsan, Republic of Korea